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CS PhD Qualifying Review

To better ensure that PhD students have acquired the requisite background and are prepared to make a successful transition into the research phase of their academic career, the graduate committee requires the students to pass through a Qualifying Review (QR) process.

The QR will be offered twice a year in the Fall (sometime in October) and the Spring (sometime in March) semester. The Graduate Committee will meet twice a year to evaluate the results. Each student must apply for the qualifier before completing their 37th credit hour in the PhD program, excluding credits hours taken during summer semesters, doctoral research credit hours taken under a previous advisor, and transfer credit hours. Hence, most students must apply for the qualifier before completing their fifth semester of the PhD program. To pass the qualifier, the student must demonstrate satisfactory progress in their coursework, must secure an advisor, and must show acceptable progress on a mutually agreed-upon research topic with the advisor.

Forms Required



Specifically, all students applying for the qualifier must submit a portfolio containing the complete record of coursework (a SASS Degree Audit highlighting the core courses) and a manuscript endorsed by the advisor summarizing the student’s research progress made since the student started in the PhD program OR a citation of an accepted or published work with the advisor, along with the advisor’s endorsement. In the case that student would fail the Qualifying Review because they lack the advisor’s endorsement, but have a published work with them, the student may appeal to the Graduate Committee, which will then render a final decision.”

If applying for the qualifier before completing their 19th credit hour in the PhD program (i.e., before completing their third semester of the PhD program), excluding the aforementioned types of credits hours, the student must demonstrate at minimum a passing grade (B or above) in one core course, and proof of registration in the current semester in another core course. If applying later, the student must demonstrate passing grades in all core courses.

After passing the QR, the student should assemble a dissertation Advisory Committee. It must consist of at least four members. The chair (the student’s advisor) and at least two others must be CS faculty. A fourth member must be from outside the Department.